UX Research Cheat Sheet

Derived from Observing the User Experience by Mike Kuniavsky (pages 69-73)

Profiles (Personas)
Turn audience descriptions into fictional characters in order to understand how audience needs relate.
Beginning of the development process 2-5 days’ work over two weeks

Chapter 7
Once per major design, or when new markets are defined

Contextual Inquiry and Task Analysis
Observe people as they solve problems to create a mental model that defines users’ current understanding and behavior.
Initial problem definition 2-4 weeks, not including recruiting

Chapter 8
Once per major set of features

Focus Groups
Structured group interviews of 6-12 target audience representatives.
Early development feature definition 2-4 weeks, not including recruiting

Chapter 9
Once per major set specification, then after every feature cluster

Usability Testing
Structured one-on-one interviews with users as they try specific tasks with product prototypes.
Throughout design and development 2-6 weeks

Chapter 10
Once before major redesign, regularly thereafter

Surveys
Randomly selected representatives of the audience are asked to fill out questionnaires; quantitative summaries of the responses are then tabulated.
Beginning of development, after launch and before redesign 2-6 weeks

Chapter 11
Once before major redesign, regularly thereafter

Ongoing Research
Long-term studies of users; done through diaries and advisory boards.
Throughout life of product Ongoing

Chapter 12
Regularly after release

Usage Logs and Customer Support
Quantitatively analyze Web server log files and customer support comments.
Beginning of development, after launch and before redesign Varies

Chapter 13
Regularly after release

Mike Kuniavsky is a founding partner of Adaptive Path, a user experience consulting company in San Francisco. He has been developing commercial web sites since 1994, and is the interaction designer of an award-winning search engine, HotBot. (Book published in 2003)

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